British toll nears 300 as soldier dies in Afghan blast

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A British soldier was killed Friday in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London announced, taking the country's military death toll to one short of 300.

The soldier from The Royal Dragoon Guards was providing security for a clearance operation when he died in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, where most of Britain's 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are based.

A total of 299 British troops have now been killed in operations in Afghanistan, which were launched in October 2001.

"He was providing security for a patrol that was conducting a clearance operation when tragically he was struck by an explosion. He died doing his duty," said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith.

© 2010 AFP

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